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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Boise, Idaho » Northwest Watershed Research Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #199738

Title: Impact of soil water storage and distribution on snowmelt generated streamflow

item Seyfried, Mark
item GRANT, L
item Marks, Daniel
item Winstral, Adam

Submitted to: Geophysical Union Canadian
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/2/2006
Publication Date: 5/14/2006
Citation: Seyfried, M.S., Grant, L.E., Marks, D., and Winstral, A. 2006. Impact of Soil Water Storage and Distribution on Snowmelt Generated Streamflow. Proceedings of the Canadian Geophysical Union, May 14-17, 2006, Banff, Canada, p. 118

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Snowmelt is the primary source of water generating streamflow in much of the western USA and Canada. The amount and timing of this streamflow, which affects a number of management decisions, is directly related to the amount and timing of snowmelt, soil water storage and transmission. The impact of this effect has been difficult to assess because it requires an accurate, spatially and temporally distributed simulation of snowmelt. In recent work at the Reynolds Mountain Experimental Watershed in Idaho, USA, we have verified that the ISNOBAL model does provide such input. In this study we linked snowmelt input to the soil generated from ISNOBAL to a soil water balance model to assess the impact of soil processes on streamflow generation. We found that the use of snowmelt water inputs from ISNOBAL provided useful input to the water balance model used to describe soil water dynamics. The water balance model portrayed infiltration with depth and transpiration with time at a number locations following snowmelt that was accurate within the coarse temporal constraints of the validation data set. Lack of streamflow response to early and late season inputs was consistent with soil water storage dynamics. Spatial location of soil water storage was not critical at the site because snowmelt inputs overwhelm storage throughout the watershed. In addition, it appears that once the subsurface water conduction network is “charged” streamflow response to inputs are very rapid (less than one day) regardless to location on the watershed.